Vines and Other Climbing Plants


Berberidopsis - Coral Plant


Berberis, like Pyracantha, is not a climber at all, but will grow effectively up through chain mesh fencing to form a vicious, thorny barrier. The fact that the spines of Berberis are needle sharp and break off easily in any probing fingers, makes the Berberis an unpleasant plant to grow in back gardens, although it does produce small attractive flowers followed by colourful berries loved by birds and other wildlife. 

However, the similarly named Berberidopsis from Chile, is very much less thorny and although not a true climber either, makes an attractive plant for a sheltered spot. It is only hardy for a few degrees of frost and does not stand cold winds, so the planting position needs to be chosen with care. This evergreen has typical, green, Berberis shaped leaves and pretty coral/red flowers in the late Summer. The Coral plant, to give it its common name also likes partial shade and well-drained soil. Not being a true climber its thin stems do need the support of a trellis type framework and it will need tying in. Berberidopsis is ideal for growing up a sheltered house wall if given suitable support, although in the right conditions it will also grow 15 feet, or more into a suitable, small tree providing Winter greenery in an otherwise bare, deciduous tree, as well as a bright display of flowers in the Summer.

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